Hans Bellmer was one of the poster-boys of the 'Degenerate Artists' who the Nazis denounced and effectively expelled from Germany in the 1930s. The painter/photographer/dollmaker was best-known for his sexualized images of pubescent girls, and much of his other work was also erotic. A recent exhibition in Santa Monica is no exception, documenting a libido so strong that it saw writhing bodies in ordinary faces and everyday scenes. With little more than lines to work with, Bellmer revealed himself to be a profoundly talented draftsman as well as an imaginative and horny old man. The drypoint engravings that hang at Galerie Anais are based on 'The Songs of Maldoror,' a long poem by Comte de Lautréamont written fifty years before the Surrealists but adopted as their own, and Bellmer's interpretations leave little doubt that the work was ripe for 20th-century reinterpretation.
Hans Bellmer, The Songs of Maldoror and the Erotic Series, Galerie Anais, 2525 Michigan Ave, D2
Santa Monica, CA 90404, through March 31.